JAMESTOWN, Calif. – Widely known as the “movie star locomotive,” the famed Sierra No. 3 is set to ride the rails again at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park (SHP) in Jamestown on the upcoming Fourth of July weekend. The 1891 vintage steam locomotive is returning to service following an extensive restoration effort costing one and a half million dollars—and the public is invited to its debut! A special celebration is planned for Saturday, July 3, and Sunday, July 4, featuring memorable steam train rides through the scenic Gold Country along with live entertainment from the Black Irish Band, Music First, Cactus Bob & Prairie Flower; costumed characters; food booths; movie highlights featuring Sierra No. 3; and much more.
In addition to its impressive Hollywood film credentials, Sierra No. 3 is one of the oldest operating steam locomotives in the United States. After its official debut, Sierra No. 3 will resume its rightful place as the starring attraction at Railtown 1897 SHP, a unique attraction which combines industrial heritage, railroad history and the lore of Hollywood. In fact, Railtown 1897 SHP in Jamestown is home to one of just two remaining, fully intact and still functioning steam-era shortline railroad roundhouse complexes in the United States.
In July 2010, the “movie star locomotive” will have completed an extensive restoration which included overhauling its boiler to meet current Federal Railroad Administration standards.
No. 3’s restoration process took approximately three years to complete, and cost one and one-half million dollars. The locomotive’s restoration was achieved through a partnership between the California State Railroad Museum Foundation and California State Parks, and was generously supported by a California Cultural and Historical Endowment (CCHE) grant, the Irving J. Symons Foundation for Tuolumne County, the Sonora Area Foundation, a California State Parks Foundation grant, the Teichert Foundation, the DuPont Corporation, and numerous contributions from members of the California State Railroad Museum and many other community supporters.
The festivities will begin at 9am sharp on Saturday, July 3rd, when the Sonora and Columbia’s historic fire pumpers will greet the locomotive’s return to service with a dramatic display of waterworks, as the locomotive bursts through a paper banner in the historic tradition. (Early birds might want to arrive even earlier to watch the locomotive being brought out of the roundhouse and onto the turntable, sometime around 8am). Immediately afterwards, at 9:30, the Sierra #3 will depart the station for the first run of the day.
On Saturday and Sunday, the Sierra #3 will depart at 9:30, 11:45, 12:30, 2:00, 3:30 and 5:00. The Sierra #3 will be pulling the restored first class observation car, and the open-air mountain observation car. Throughout the weekend, musicians will be on board, including Ron DeLacy, Patrick Karnahan, Dick “Tater” Learned, and Dave Rainwater. Advanced reservations are strongly advised. Because this is a “special”, no discounts will apply. Tickets for Adults are $30, children $15, ages 2 and under, not occupying a seat, ride free.
The Shay #2, Railtown’s “Sidewinder Express” steam train, will be pulling our historic commuter cars, and an open-air observation car. A limited number of tickets will also be available for our newly restored Caboose. The Shay #2 departs on Saturday and Sunday at 10:15, 11:45, 1:15, 2:45 and 4:15. Adult tickets are $13, youth (6-17) are $6, and children 5 and under are free. Members ride free!
Remote parking will be available throughout the weekend from the Jamestown Elementary School, with a free horse-drawn shuttle to the park. Musicians, including Ron DeLacy, Cactus Bob and Prairie Flower, Black Irish, Dick “Tater” Learned, Dave Rainwater, Roger Kirby, Music First and the Black Irish Band will play throughout the weekend. Local community non-profits will provide food, beverages, beer and wine for sale. Two steam locomotives will operate on Saturday and Sunday, bringing to life the bustle and noise of the historic shop facilities in a unique way.
Throughout the weekend, costumed re-enactors will portray historic characters from Railtown’s movie past. Don’t be surprised to see Mae West, Clint Eastwood, Mark Twain, and others roaming the grounds!
The holiday weekend promises to be a debut fit for a movie star, with much to see and do for the entire family.
Schedule for the day, Saturday & Sunday
9:00- Park Opens, Sierra #3 arrives, (greeted by Columbia’s Papeete and Sonora’s Eureka fire pumpers on Saturday only)
9:30- First Sierra #3 Passenger train departs
10:15- The Shay #2 departs
11:00- Sierra #3 departs, food, beer and wine vendors open
11:45- Shay #2 departs
12:30 –Sierra #3 departs
1:00- Saturday: Cactus Bob and Prairie Flower on the lawn stage/ Sunday: Black Irish Band
1:15- Shay #2 departs
2:00- Sierra #3 departs
Saturday: Cactus Bob and Prairie Flower on the lawn stage/ Sunday: Black Irish Band
2:45- Shay #2 departs
3:00- Saturday: Cactus Bob and Prairie Flower on the lawn stage/ Sunday: Black Irish Band
3:30- Sierra #3 departs
4:15- Shay #2 departs
5:00- Sierra #3 departs
6:00- park closes
On Monday, trains pulled by the Shay #2 will run on the normal weekend schedule at 11, 12, 1, 2 & 3. The Sierra #3 will be available for viewing in the roundhouse.
Due to expected high demand, advance tickets to ride behind Sierra No. 3 on July 3rd and 4th, are strongly suggested and are available at www.railtown1897.org.
Special excursion trains pulled by Sierra No. 3 will continue through October 2010 only on the first weekend of each month. For more information, please call 209-984-3953 or visit www.railtown1897.org.